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Transcript of Mongolian Octopus
When was it produced?
Was it replicated (reprinted)?
Where was it produced? Content What do you see in the image?
What information can we get from the image?
Who is in the image?
What symbols can you see?
What objects and colours are used?
What is the main idea?
Are there any animals?
List all the details that you can see. The Mongolian Octopus - His Grip on Australia Context What was happening at the time?
Why was this produced?
Where was it published?
What events were occurring?
Who was reading this? Communication What bias does the creator demonstrate?
Whose point of view is this from?
Is this a reliable source? Why / Why not?
Is this a positive or negative representation? Connections Does this remind you of similar situations today?
Can you think of a modern day example?
How do the opinions presented in this illustration reflect the opinions shown today?
Can you find similar examples of a primary resource in society today?
What situations or events do you think would use a similar tactic today? The head is a chinese man and tells us that the image concerns people who come from this background. The image is ugly with angry, squint-like eyes, buck teeth and large mouth. This shows us what people thought chinese immigrants looked like. The title suggests that this image is about how chinese people were taking Australian resources in many different ways. Tentacles reiterate the idea that this image is about the the many ways that chinese imigrants would affect Australian Life. The first tentacle shows a chest of drawers and the slogan "Cheap Labour". The second tentacle is a man struggling and holding a note or paycheck with the slogan Pak-Ah-Pu (a gambling game). The third tentacle shows two women in either very light clothes or nightgowns and without shoes, possibly suggesting prostitution. The slogan is immortality. The fourth tentacle shows a sick woman and has the slogan of "smallpox" and "typhoid", both contagious diseases that can cause death. The fifth tentacle shows a man smoking, possibly opium which is also the slogan for this arm. The sixth tentacle shows a policeman hold a bag of money, implying that he is being caught up in bribery. The seventh tentacle shows a man who appears to be succumbing of falling over to gambling. The slogan, "Fan-tan" is another chinese gambling game. The eighth tentacle shows a treasure building or place where the government keeps all of its money is being entered by a tentacle or custom robbery (customs is how the government collects money on goods brought in and out of the country). Phillip May, ‗The Mongolian Octopus—his grip on Australia‘, The Bulletin, 21 August 1886; May depicts the range of stereotypes that were popularly used to represent the Chinese. Unambiguously associated with various forms of disease, vice and immorality, the pig-tailed and buck-toothed Chinaman ensnares naïve and unsuspecting Europeans. Artist is Phillip May. Published in "The Bulletin" on the 21st August 1886. The artist selected an octopus because he had eight ideas he wished to convey about the Asians migrants. The cartoon conveys to me the following messages: The Chinese are Mongolians who come in great numbers. The Chinese are Mongols who are feral and have no culture or idea of civilisation. The Chinese are like an Octopus and are getting their tentacles on everything. The Chinese are evil looking and almost unhuman like. The Chinese are taking the jobs of the locals because they work for nothing. The Chinese are into gambling. Gambling is a vice that results in the destruction of the individual and the community. The Chinese believe in prostitution and run prostitution houses that corrupt local women and destroy families. The Chinese believe in prostitution and run prostitution houses that corrupt local women and destroy families. The Chinese bring drugs into the country and turn the locals into drug addicts. The Chinese bribe officials so that they can keep doing evil things. The Chinese don’t pay taxes on things they bring in or take out of the country. This means they are ripping of the Australian tax payer. Are you biased? It's not a trick question. Practically everyone is biased in some way. If you support Geelong Football club you are probably biased against Collingwood, if you support Sydney Swans you are probably biased against Brisbane Lions. You can show bias when talking about different bands, books, television programmes, politics, even the weather. So what does it mean? Basically, bias means having an unfair or unbalanced opinion. Since history is a subject where people express their opinions it means that we have to be very careful to watch out for bias. The artist uses the term Mongolian to refer to the Chinese. The Mongolians are a different race and come from Mongolia. It is in effect an insult because to a European, at the time, people from Mongolia were considered backward, uncultured and uncivilised. At this time and in particular during the 1800’s people generally believed in phrenology. This is the idea that you could tell peoples characters and if they were criminals by the way they looked. Close set eyes was one measurement used to decide if a person was likely to be a criminal. So for anyone at the time the eyes would have triggered the response that this man is a criminal. The artist wants us to feel very sad. The poor little girl is hungry and has no shoes. Her dad is going to have to leave her to go bush, to find work. This is all because of the Chinaman, who took his job. While the ideas are no longer as prevalent in today's society, there are still some lingering issues with racism and prejudice. Some events that may use a similar strategy today would be reactions to conflict or disasters, such as the Sandy Hook Elementary Shootings or Hurricane Sandy. It could be use to promote a particular reaction to these events, for example it may be blamed on the Government's innaction. Conclusisons What conclusions can we draw based on this illustration?
How does this resource help us to understand the events of the time?
How does it help us to understand how people were feeling at the time?
How useful is this resource?
How reliable is it as an example of what was happening?
How accurately does this reflect the ideas of the time? Reliable source of public/media opinion but not necessarily the opinions of all Australians. This is a useful source to show some Australian’s beliefs that the Chinese were here to try and take over Australia. Since the Gold Rush, Australians were suspicious of the Chinese. They believed that they were going to take all of their jobs and would contaminate the white race. By 1886 many colonial governments had passed anti – Chinese legislation It is also an interesting example of the ways in which British tabloids were willing to portray other leaders of Europe.